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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Second ‘How to Promote Local Small Businesses’ Session Set for June 28

• Activist Starts Petition Drive Urging City Constraints on Commercial Development

BY BILL KOENEKER

Mayor John Sibert announced this week the next Zoning Ordinance Review and Code Enforcement Subcommittee meeting to deal with “growing and sustaining local businesses,” is on Tuesday, June 28, at 9 a.m.
He said he doesn’t like the words retail chain ban or retail formula ordinance and said he wished the local media would stop using the terms.
Sibert said there are a “couple of more steps” involved before recommendations go before the full council. “The staff report will be out before the week of the [ZORACES] meeting,” he added.
The council subcommittee comprised of Sibert, Councilmember Jefferson Wagner and Planning Commission Chair Jeff Jennings conducted a town hall meeting several weeks ago when over 100 interested individuals showed up to talk about the matter.
Various ideas were offered up including storeowners asking for more customers, shopping center owners vowing they do not want more regulation, and others insisting some kind of legislative approach should be undertaken or other types of incentives offered.
This week, another local petition surfaced on the Internet and laid down the rules of what is thought to be a method to “Preserve the the local businesses of the coastal city,” decribed as the “Community Soul of Malibu.”
The signatories are petitioning the City of Malibu. The petition to Preserve the Soul of Malibu Today was authored by small business activist Janet Katz, who asks “neighbors and friends of Malibu to sign the petition.”
Citing the city’s General Plan and mission statement as its guiding light, the website indicates the town is at a pivotal crossroads regarding commercial development.
“Retail leases are turning Malibu into a clone of ritzy “Beverly Hills’ malls, far removed from the essential nature of our low key, inviting beach community,” the website says.
“We are committed to preserving the natural, rustic beauty and lifestyle of Malibu for generations to come. Our immediate goals as Malibu citizens regarding our retail centers are that:
Every commercial development is consistent with the Malibu General Plan and zoning codes.
Our city closes existing loopholes in zoning codes.
Our city puts into policy and enforces a balanced, intelligent plan that ensures a diversity of community serving businesses and that upholds and encourages small retail businesses that citizens consider vital to this city.
Planning is implemented that protects and encourages small retail businesses that citizens consider vital to this city.
A plan to manage and limit future chain establishments is achieved.
Existing chains will not be affected (excluded are banks, real estate offices, gas stations, etc.).”
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 191 signatures, including the latest signers, who are from Poland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and other locations around the world.

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